Bill Cosby’s ac­cuser, her mother tes­tify at re­trial

The Day - - WORLD & NATION - By MICHAEL R. SISAK

— Bill Cosby’s chief ac­cuser at his sex­ual-as­sault trial on Mon­day de­nied fram­ing him and said she doesn’t know a key wit­ness who plans to tes­tify she spoke of lev­el­ing false ac­cu­sa­tions against a celebrity.

An­drea Con­stand told jurors she doesn’t “re­call ever hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with” Mar­guerite Jack­son. Both women worked at Tem­ple Univer­sity around the time Con­stand says Cosby drugged and mo­lested her at the co­me­dian’s sub­ur­ban Philadel­phia home in 2004.

The de­fense plans to call Jack­son as a wit­ness and says she will tes­tify that be­fore Con­stand lodged her al­le­ga­tions against Cosby in 2005, Con­stand had mused to her about set­ting up a “high-pro­file per­son” and fil­ing suit. Jack­son has said that she and Con­stand worked closely to­gether, had been friends and had shared ho­tel rooms sev­eral times.

A judge blocked Jack­son from tes­ti­fy­ing at last year’s trial, which ended in a hung jury, af­ter Con­stand took the stand and de­nied know­ing her. At the time, Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Jack­son’s tes­ti­mony would be hearsay. Since then, pros­e­cu­tors have told Cosby’s lawyers that Con­stand had mod­i­fied her state­ment to ac­knowl­edge she “re­calls a Margo.”

The judge has ruled that Jack­son can take the stand at the re­trial but in­di­cated he could re­visit the is­sue af­ter Con­stand was fin­ished tes­ti­fy­ing.

Jack­son’s avail­abil­ity as a wit­ness for Cosby could be cru­cial to a de­fense plan to at­tack Con­stand’s cred­i­bil­ity and get jurors to be­lieve she set Cosby up.

Cosby lawyer Tom Me­sereau, who has called Con­stand a “con artist” who framed Cosby and then col­lected a $3.4 mil­lion set­tle­ment, asked her about Jack­son dur­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion on Mon­day. She again de­nied know­ing her.

The de­fense lawyer then asked, “Did you ever fab­ri­cate a scheme to falsely ac­cuse him for money?”

“No, sir,” Con­stand replied.

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